Symptoms of Strep Throat

The signs and symptoms of strep throat in children and adults are somewhat similar. They are given in detail below. The symptoms of strep throat in both children and adults usually appear within 1-5 days after initial exposure to the virus. The first symptom of strep throat is a sore throat that develops suddenly.

Symptoms of Strep Throat in Children include:

  • Difficulty or pain while swallowing
  • Red, swollen tonsils.
  • At times, the throat and the tonsils may have a coating on them or white or yellow spots on them.
  • A sore throat that suddenly comes on without any of the accompanying symptoms of a cold such as sneezing or coughing.
  • General discomfort or feeling uneasy or ill
  • The roof of the mouth may be coated with dark and red spots.
  • A fever that is higher than 38.3°C (101°F).
  • Headaches
  • Lower stomach pain
  • A loss of appetite and nausea as well.
  • Vomiting
  • Bad breath
  • A skin rash that starts on the neck and chest and then spreads over the entire body.
Signs of Strep Throat in Adults are:

  • A pain in the throat
  • Enlarged lymph glands in the neck that are tender and painful when touched. The same may happen to the lymph nodes that are on the chin and jaw.
  • Abdominal pain – this is due to the fact that the streptococcus bacteria is present in the urinary bladder, rectum, bowels and other abdominal organs.
  • A red rash in the throat that is accompanied by white bumps/spots.
  • Difficulty in swallowing.
  • Nausea
  • Pus either on the back of the throat or at the side of the throat.
  • White spots on the tonsils that may be red or swollen
  • Pregnant women who develop a strep throat infection could also suffer from a urinary tract infection that leads to abdominal pain and fever.
If you have a sore throat and any of the signs mentioned below, do not hesitate to contact a doctor immediately:

  • A stiff neck
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • A skin rash
  • A swollen tongue or neck
  • Drooling because you are not able to swallow
  • Difficulty in opening your mouth
Do keep in mind that the symptoms mentioned above, whether for children or adults are also common to many other diseases. A doctor is the best person to determine if these are the symptoms of strep throat or another illness. Various tests like a sputum test or tissue culture test can help with diagnosis. Treatment can then be started accordingly. 
Frequently asked questions
  1. Antibiotic Treatment of Children With Sore Throat; Jeffrey A. Linder, David W. Bates, Grace M. Lee, Jonathan A. Finkelstein, JAMA. 2005;294(18):2315-2322.doi:10.1001/jama.294.18.2315
  2. Center for Disease Control; July 17, 2005. Statement on GAS Disease.
  3. Hayes, C. and H. Williamson. July 17, 2005. Management of Group A Beta-Hemolytic Streptococcal Pharyngitis.